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Study Up For 'Think': The Public Weight Of Depression


Writer David Guterson is famous for his novel Snow Falling on Cedars. He brings his struggle with major depression, catalyzed by the 9-11 attacks, to a wide forum via the new book Descent: A Memoir of Madness. Before the title's release, Guterson urged a smaller group to avoid despair: the high school he attended in Seattle. His commencement speech angered some parents, who yelled and tried to cut him off. Guterson talks to Think host Krys Boyd today at noon.

In his Roosevelt High School talk, which belongs in the canon with the late David Foster Wallace's "This Is Water" given at Kenyon College in 2005, Guterson prescribed smartphone breaks and called out kids for seeking escapism through marijuana and ski trips. He dipped into heavier themes of death and self, though, which irked moms and dads who had not expected to face life's biggest questions before the caps were tossed. Read an excerpt via the Seattle Stranger: 

Cultivate those states of mind that actually produce happiness and cast out those that don’t. After a while you will find that you care much less about your own hopes and dreams and a lot more about other people. You will move in the direction of self-less-ness, which is a good thing, because if there is no self, who is it that has to die some day? There will be no one there to die. There will be no self. Die now, so you won’t have to do it later.

Listen to Think from noon to 2 p.m., and again from 9 to 11 p.m., Monday through Thursday on KERA 90.1 FM or stream if you like.  

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.